By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two people were injured late Tuesday when they were attacked by a grizzly bear in southwestern Montana, officials said.
Around 8:30 p.m., two men were hiking with a dog off-trail in the Bear Creek area southeast of Ennis, Montana when they encountered a sow grizzly bear with cubs at close range. Sows with cubs can be especially defensive in close encounters with people.
During the encounter, the two hikers were injured by the bear. However, they were able to use bear spray to defend themselves.
Both hikers were able to leave the attack site without assistance and received treatment for relatively minor injuries.
A game warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the scene of the attack on Wednesday with law enforcement staff from the U.S. Forest Service. The trail nearest the incident has been closed and signed temporarily as a precaution.
Other trails in this area have also been signed, advising visitors of the incident, but no further action will be taken.
Officials believe this attack was likely defensive in nature.
This is the second time in recent weeks that a grizzly has injured someone in Montana. Last month, a woman was killed by a grizzly while in her tent.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report this week regarding a West Yellowstone man who was killed earlier this year by a grizzly guarding a moose carcass. The grizzly in that incident was later killed after it charged wildlife investigators.